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January 20, 2004

1,000th Farm and 20,000 acres Preserved – The State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC) met Governor McGreevey’s goal of preserving 20,000 acres in 2003 and reached another milestone with the preservation of its 1,000th farm. Governor McGreevey attended a ceremony at the 1,000th farm – the Taylor Palmer Farm in Manalapan – and remarked on the success of the Farmland Preservation Program in his State of the State address. The SADC is working toward the preservation of another 20,000 acres in 2004.

Mad Cow Disease, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) – On December 25, 2003, the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) International Reference Laboratory in Weybridge, England, confirmed the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s preliminary diagnosis of BSE in a single "downer" dairy cow in Washington State. APHIS, in collaboration with Canadian officials, traced the birth of the BSE-positive cow to a farm in Alberta, Canada. Information about this unfolding situation was shared as broadly as possible amongst New Jersey government and private sector partners by fax, conference call, press releases and other means. A summary of pertinent technical information has been distributed to all accredited veterinarians as well as producers, extension agents and other interested parties cooperatively through the NJ USDA-APHIS-VS office.

The USDA reports that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and inspectors from Oregon and Washington have located all known potentially infectious rendered products from the BSE-positive cow. The rendering plants that processed this material have placed a voluntary hold on all known potentially infectious products, none of which had left the control of the companies or entered commercial distribution as of January 7, 2004. FDA continues its investigation of all regulated products related to the BSE-positive cow.

On December 30, 2003, USDA announced additional safeguards to further minimize the risk for human exposure to BSE in the United States. Beginning immediately, the Food Safety and Inspection Service has prohibited the use of downer cattle for food for human consumption. Other planned actions include the required removal of "specified risk materials" from animals aged greater than 30 months at the time of slaughter and withholding the USDA "inspected and passed" mark until negative BSE test results are received for any animal tested. To enhance the speed and accuracy of the response to animal health threats such as BSE, APHIS is working to implement a national identification system to track animals of various species through the livestock marketing chain. USDA also will appoint an international panel of scientists with BSE expertise to provide an objective review of the response to the identification of the BSE-positive cow described in this report and to identify areas for potential improvement of current BSE safeguards.

Horse Park of New Jersey – At the United States Eventing Conference, the Horse Park of New Jersey was selected as the site for the final competition for the Olympic "Three-Day-Event" team, on July 12 and 13. Horses and riders will compete against each other in Dressage, Cross Country, and Stadium Jumping. The horses will leave the park for the mandatory quarantine before shipping to Athens for the Summer Olympic Games.

Alampi Laboratory Rears a New Hemlock Adelgid Predator – The Beneficial Insect Laboratory has added a new predatory beetle to its rearing program for the control of hemlock woolly adelgid. The lady beetle, Scymnus sinuanodulus, originally from China, is now laying eggs and producing larvae in the Laboratory in the first phase of building a mass production program. The Division’s laboratory colony of S. sinuanodulus is the second surviving colony in the world – the original colony is maintained at the USDA Forest Service Forest Health Research Laboratory at Hamden, Connecticut. New Jersey’s work, in partnership with the USDA Forest Service, is to establish a colony in a second location to ensure against loss of the species from mishap, and to develop a mass production procedure that will allow distribution of the new beetle to forest managers and researchers working in biological control of hemlock adelgid throughout the Eastern states.

Southern Wilt of Geraniums- Ralstonia solanacearum – USDA APHIS Plant Protection Quarantine (PPQ) alerted the Department that cutting geraniums produced in Guatemala and shipped to New Jersey greenhouse growers may have been infected with a bacterial plant pathogen, Ralstonia solanacearum race 3 biovar 2. Nationwide, 439 greenhouse operations received stock from this supplier. The affected cultivars are Americana Bright Red, Cherry Rose II and Coral. R. solanacearum (Southern Wilt ) causes wilting and death in geraniums. The race 3 biovar 2 strain of Ralstonia solanacearum is of considerable concern to the because of its ability to infect important food crops such as peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, and potatoes. Division staff is cooperating with USDA to inspect 12 greenhouse locations throughout the state that received this material.

Conservation District Strategic Planning Workshop – The State Soil Conservation Committee staff will hold a two-day workshop for the 16 Soil Conservation Districts to develop 5-year business or strategic plan for local District operations. The workshop will be held on February 17-18, 2004 at the Ocean Place Conference Hotel in Long Branch, Monmouth County. The workshop, which will involve Conservation District personnel and conservation partners, is part of the State and local strategic planning process to improve the delivery system of services to clients of the Department and the local Soil Conservation Districts.

New Jersey’s 2004 Outstanding Young Farmer (OYF) To Compete At National Congress – Phil Brodhecker, New Jersey’s 2004 OYF candidate, has been selected as one of the top 25 young farmer finalists from across the USA to compete for one of the coveted four National OYF Awards. Brodhecker and a guest will travel on an expense-paid trip to the 2004 National OYF Awards Congress to be held February 12-15 in San Antonio, Texas. The OYF program is sponsored by Deere & Company, with additional support by the Outstanding Farmers of America (OFA) Fraternity and the National Association of County Agriculture Agents (NACAA) and is administered by the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce.